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The Journey Prize Stories 17

From The Best Of Canada's New Writers Selected by James Grainger and Nancy Lee

by Various

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list price: $17.99
edition:Paperback
category: Fiction
published: 2005
ISBN:9780771043789
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Description

With an introduction by the jury, and now featuring authors’ comments on the inspiration for their stories.

This is the seventeenth edition of The Journey Prize Stories, Canada’s most popular annual fiction anthology. As well as receiving high praise every year, it is an important indicator of up-and-coming writers, presenting the most exciting new Canadian voices from coast to coast. Writers whose stories have appeared in the anthology — Yann Martel, André Alexis, David Bergen, Dennis Bock, Michael Crummey, Elizabeth Hay, Annabel Lyon, Lisa Moore, Eden Robinson, Timothy Taylor, Madeleine Thien, and M.G. Vassanji — have gone on to become finalists for or winners of some of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards.

The stories included in the anthology are contenders for the $10,000 Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, which is made possible by James A. Michener’s generous donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his novel Journey (M&S, 1988). The winner will be announced in the spring of 2006 as part of The Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Great Literary Awards event.

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Excerpt

Introduction
We are pleased to report that fiction writing is alive and well in Canada, and that all of the stories contributed to the 2005 Journey Prize contest possessed elements — scene, characters, a series of observations, or an interesting narrative voice — to recommend them. Every story was worth reading.

During the selection process, as we discussed what we liked and disliked about the stories, we found that certain narrative strategies and techniques seemed more effective and evocative than others. It is always a dicey task to try to define what makes a good story or poem or novel, but this is what the jury of any literary prize is forced to do in the end. A winner must be chosen, and that choice has to be justified through a broad set of aesthetic criteria that the judges can agree upon, at least for the duration of the selection process. Of the over eighty submissions, we chose the fourteen stories that, in our opinion, exemplify the strongest instincts and best narrative choices. The following points will hopefully give the reader — and the contributors — an idea of our guiding principles for selecting the stories for inclusion in this anthology.

1. A story is a story is a story.
Story is more than anecdote, or character sketch, or a very long joke with a punchline, and it is certainly more than a thinly veiled journal entry publicizing your difficult relationship with your parents or spouse. A story is a sequence of events related through cause and effect, preferably driven forward by characters’ desires and actions. Story seeks to illuminate the plight of human existence and give an accurate and honest portrayal of a specific dilemma and its outcome.

The stories in this anthology offer insight into the human condition through keenly observed detail and the telling actions of characters. In “A Matter of Firsts,” we come to understand the complex relationship between a girl and her father’s mistress; “Matchbook for a Mother’s Hair” details the sometimes violent, sometimes tender sexual misuse of a developmentally disabled teenage boy; “Seven Ways into Chandigarh” weaves history, marriage, and architecture into a complex, beguiling narrative. These narratives couldn’t be more different, and yet, because they deliver compelling story, we read them with the same zeal and excitement.

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Contributor notes

Lynn Crosbie is the author of two novels and five collections of poetry, most recently Missing Children. She lives in Toronto. James Grainger is the review editor of Quill & Quire and the author of the fiction collection The Long Slide. He lives in Toronto. Nancy Lee’s first book of fiction, Dead Girls, was named Book of the Year by NOW Magazine. She lives in Vancouver.

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Editorial Review

"The Journey Prize anthology has become the proving ground for new, young Canadian writers, a who’s who of the coming generation. . . . I, for one, owe everything to the Journey Prize."
—Yann Martel, previous Journey Prize winner and the author of Life of Pi

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